Behind the scenes of the Massachusetts movie making industry

BOSTON — Boston 25 News had the chance to pull back the curtain of the local film industry by sitting down with two women who launched the careers of countless celebrities here in Massachusetts.

“There’s nothing like bringing those people home,” said Angela Peri, founder and co-owner of Boston Casting, when asked about stars with local roots returning to the Boston area to film new projects.

“We put John Krasinski in his first commercial. Dunkin Donuts…” Peri and co-owner Lisa Lobel recounted. “We still have…his thank you note from his first commercial.”

So what does it take to find an unknown Krasinski…

Or to hook a fisherman at his Gloucester watering hole for the film “Coda”…

Peri and Lobel say it often comes down to gut instinct.

“You just feel it. Yeah. It’s hard to find it, but it’s art,” Lobel said.

She and Peri say Boston-based actor Naheem Garcia felt right for many projects, including ‘Purge,’ ‘Equalizer 2,’ ‘The Proposal’ and more.

Garcia tells Boston 25 News, at the beginning of his career, he was told if he wanted to “make it” he’d have to leave town.

“Oh, you got to go to New York. Oh, you got to go to L.A. And I said, ‘Why? Why can’t I survive here? Why can’t we build this industry here?’ And Boston casting and others have really made it possible to have a career,” Garcia said.

“Everyone we work with is a New England local. So, you know, we don’t cast people from New York and Los Angeles. Everything is right here. So, it’s an amazing time to be an actor or to be a crew member for film and tv right now in Boston,” Lobel said.

Boston Casting credits that in part, to a tax incentive launched in 2006 in the state.

“So before the tax incentive, they used to come here and they used to shoot the Swan Boats… the foliage, the snow, and that was it. They would just do the exteriors. Now they come in, they shoot the whole movie here. They actually have scripts in Los Angeles that they changed the setting to Boston so that they can come here and take advantage of our tax incentive,” Peri explained.

Boston Casting says a film puts 2,000 people to work per movie. Sometimes there are 12 to 15 films shot here, a year, and with those projects and people comes a need for food, housing, and space to shoot.

Marina Studios in Quincy and Canton has been able to build on that opportunity. Boston 25 visited the Quincy location, where filming of the new Whitney Houston biopic recently wrapped.

Peri and Lobel said local talent can take advantage of the opportunities in our own backyard as well. For budding actors hoping to jump into the industry, it’s as simple as uploading a couple of pictures and some information about yourself to their database. They do recommend you take an acting class.

And in addition to acting, they say there are lots of opportunities for other creatives in Massachusetts… just don’t come with stars in your eyes.

“It’s called show business for a reason. It’s a business,” Peri said. “It’s not because your mother said you’re pretty and your grandmother said you can dance. It’s a business. So if you treat it like a business, you’ll be successful.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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